The Legend of … TORTELLINI! by Pam Crooks

It’s National Tortellini Day!

There’s a “National Day” for everything, it seems, right? But this one caught my eye because, well, who doesn’t love tortellini?

I don’t recall my mother ever making it. Being Italian, my family had plenty of pasta in our lives, but we were pretty much restricted to spaghetti, mostaccioli, macaroni, bow ties, and occasionally orzo.  (Although, in fairness, grocery stores in my day were decidedly limited compared to the super-stores we shop at today,)

So I began wondering just how long has tortellini been around?  Macaroni has been available in mercantiles throughout the west, and the noodles filled many a cowboy’s stomach, but something as fancy as tortellini?

Well, lo and behold, tortellini has been around a lo-ong time.

Legend claims that Tortellini was inspired by the goddess Venus’ navel. An Italian medieval legend tells how Venus and Zeus, weary one night after their involvement in a battle between Bologna and Modena, arrive at a tavern in a small town on the outskirts of Bologna. After eating a hearty dinner and becoming slightly drunk, they decide to share a bedroom. The innkeeper, captivated after watching them, creeps to their room and peeks through the keyhole of the bedroom door. However, all he can see through the keyhole is the navel of Venus. This vision leaves him spellbound – so much so that he immediately rushes to the kitchen and creates a pasta inspired by Venus’ navel…and so was born the Tortellini.


Cool, eh?  Fun, fascinating, and true?  Maybe. Maybe not.

It’s a legend, right? But I’ll bet you’ll always remember that tortellini was inspired by a famous goddess’ belly button!  I know I will.

How about I share a super-simple and refreshing salad recipe?

Tortellini Caesar Salad


3 Tb lemon juice

2 Tb water

1 1/2 Tb vegetable oil

1 tsp anchovy paste

1/8 tsp ground pepper

1 close garlic, crushed


9 oz cheese tortellini, cooked, drained, and cooled

1 head lettuce, cut up

Plenty of FRESH grated parmesan cheese

Combine dressing ingredients and whisk well.

Place lettuce and tortellini in a large bowl. Toss in dressing and top with parmesan cheese.

Serve cold.

**Note: I never make the dressing included in the recipe but use a good bottle of Caesar salad dressing. The above recipe is low in calories, but the dressing is what a salad is all about, right? 

Happy National Tortellini Day!

How about you? Do you love legends?  What’s your favorite? Robin Hood? Lady Godiva?

Do you love pasta? How do you prepare your tortellini?

Please share, and since Valentine’s Day is TOMORROW, I’ll send one of you who comments this gold, sparkly, heart-shaped bottle opener!

Happy Valentine’s Day!




              AMAZON                                                                                                  AMAZON

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Pam has written 30 romances, most of them historical westerns, but she's proud of her contemporary sweet romances featuring the Blackstone Ranch series published by Tule Publishing, too! Stay up on the latest at

40 thoughts on “The Legend of … TORTELLINI! by Pam Crooks”

  1. Make four slices of bacon, place on paper towel to drain, cool, chop into bite-size pieces. Drain all but a tablespoon or two of bacon grease out of the pan and saute onion in it. Start making cheese tortellini in a separate pot, then drain when done. As the onion finishes, add the bacon back, then toss in a half cup of frozen peas and a small jar of your favorite cream or alfredo sauce. Stir, then gently add in tortellini, then serve.

    I used to be able to find a fresh alfredo in the refrigerated section, but it has either been discontinued or not available at the stores where I shop.

      • Yes, Jess! Unfortunately, I ran out of time, otherwise I’d focus more on those western Tall Tales. Hmmm. Maybe a blog for another time, eh?

        Thank you for the suggestion!

    • Ooh, this sounds so simple and good, Denise! I’ll bet you could take out the bacon, and it would be a fabulous Lenten dish, too.

      If you ever find a good brand of alfredo, let me know!

      Thank you for sharing, my dear.

    • One of my FAVES, Melanie! I used to fantasize about how strong, clever and good Robin Hood was. And I was always jealous of Maid Marian, that she got him and I didn’t!

      We all love romance, don’t we? Even in legends or in real life!!

  2. The Legend of King Author has always captivated me.
    I loved your blog. I’ve never made tortellini, but I do love pasta.
    Thanks for the recipe. Happy Valentines to you Miss Pam.

    • Ah, yes. King Arthur is another good one!! A fearless leader and romantic. It’s amazing how his legend has endured throughout all these centuries!!

      Hugs, Tonya. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too.

  3. Good morning. We actually do not eat a whole lot of pasta at our house. It’s just me and my youngest now and she isn’t a huge fan of Italian food. I know crazy, right?!?! She likes spaghetti, she just doesn’t want it very often. She grew up eating a lot of authentic Mexican food because her father is a Mexican National. This tortellini salad sounds great. Your right salad is often made by it’s dressing! I’ve made cheese tortellini with a traditional meat sauce before and with a pesto sauce before. I actually eat so little pasta and other gluten foods these days that I think I may have developed a gluten allergy. I’m still trying to decide if I have or not. My youngest does love my bow tie pasta salad though.

    1 box bowtie pasta, cooled and flash cooled
    Diced celery
    Diced olives
    1 jar pimento
    Diced bell pepper, colors of choice
    Halves or quarters of grape tomatoes
    Diced onion (I’ll add diced green onion too if i have it on hand)
    Diced cucumbers

    Bottled zesty Italian dressing
    Packets of dry zesty Italian dressing mix

    I do not fix this with measurements and usually do it with 2 boxes of pasta because we enjoy it that much. With the two boxes of pasta I use the entire bottle of Italian dressing and the amount of dried dressing mix I use depends on the amount of diced veggies I add to the salad. I but the dried mixes in the box that contains several packets because i use it in a chicken and shrimp recipe as well so I always have it on hand. It is also great to use as a seasoning on pot roast.

    Loved your blog and I would love the opportunity to read your book! I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day filled with love!

    • Yay! Another wonderful recipe from Stephanie! Yes, you would have to use the whole bottle of Italian dressing. That pasta just slurps up that dressing, but I love the idea of adding another packet of the dried seasoning mix. What a great way to add more flavor! Perfect.

      I, too, buy the dressing packets in boxes of four. They are lovely to have on hand, aren’t they? So versatile.

      Love ya, Stephanie!

  4. May favorite on a cold winter night is a pot of Tortellini and Chicken broth. I just make 8 cups chicken broth , I bag t bag pasta , half stick butter . Cook till Tortellini till done . I’ve learned some people add nutmeg and ketchup to their bowl of broth , they said it’s the Italian way to eat. I just know it taste so good on a cold night!!

    • Another simple recipe! Tortellini is so filling, you don’t need much else, but I do like to add some spinach at the end or some cooked broccoli.

      Nutmeg? KETCHUP?? What? That is just wrong on so many levels! LOL.

      Thanks for the ideas, RoseAnn!

  5. I have never made Tortellini but I do love pasta. My husband is not a big pasta fan though and there is only a few things that is pasta that he will eat.

    • Quilt Lady, you have to give it a try. Tortellini is easier to make than spaghetti, I think. Once it boils and floats to the top of the water, it’s done. Hot or cold, plain or with veggies, it’s the BEST.

      You’ll have to try it sometime. I bet your hubby will like it if he tried it.

      Thanks for stopping by, as always!

    • Robin Hood is one of my favs. Being Italian you can believe pasta was served every kind of way. Cold, hot, in soups, salads etc. But I personally never made tortellini.

  6. That is a fun legend. I will be thinking of it next time I make Tortellini. I just might have to pick some up at the store today when I do grocery shopping. The way I make it is just pouring Alfredo sauce over it and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

    • I know, right, Janine? I will never, ever look at tortellini again and not think of Venus’s belly button. I can see the similarities!!

      And you’re right – the Parmesan cheese must be FRESHLY GRATED! Makes all the difference in the world.

      Hugs, Janine!

    • I always buy the frozen tortellini near the frozen bread section of my grocery store. You can buy it on trays in the refrigerated section, but I’ve never tried that kind.


    • Estella, Estella. You must try some. You’ll love it! So easy to make and filling. You can have it all times of the year, too. Hot or cold, even during Lent.

      Thanks for stopping by, dear.

  7. What a fun legend, Pam! I love a good myth, and if it inspired a delicious pasta, all the better. I don’t make tortellini at home, but I do enjoy a nice cheese tortellini at a restaurant every now and then.

  8. Welcome Pam. This is a funny legend. I shared this with my husband and we both had a good laugh. Happy Valentines Day to you and yours.

  9. Ooops, don’t know where my comment went. So, here goes again.
    Robin Hood is one of my favorites. Being Italian we grew up eating pasta in every shape and form ?. I have actually never made tortellini. And The only time I remember eating it growing up was in soups. Thanks for the legend of Venus & Zeus.

    • Ah. Another Italian pasta lover! Oh, I don’t think I’d ever want to make tortellini. It’s much too labor intensive, but the texture is lovely. Very filling and versatile, and yes, perfect in soup!

      Great to see you here today, Carol.

  10. I enjoy legends. My favorite one is The Fountain of Youth. Now that is one that we never tired of reading about. Pasta is so enticing and appetizing. The kids love it and we eat pasta every weekend especially during the winter.

  11. We grew up learning about myths and legends in school. I always was interested in The Tower of babel. Tortellini makes my soups more interesting.

  12. Robin Hood is definitely a great legend. Your tortellini would be savored and loved. A legend that was fascinating was Ghosts of route 66.

  13. We don’t do a lot of pasta, as Mom’s not crazy about it. She doesn’t eat much at night, anyway, so I try to fix things I know she’ll eat!

  14. I only did tortellini once and wasn’t impressed. In all fairness, it was a dried, cheese version and very likely not a very good quality. I have been looking at the fresh versions available in many stores and will have to give them a try. We are pasta fans, so it would be nice to add another to have on occasion.
    I like the legend of Big Foot, Sasquatch, Abominable snowman – whatever you want to call it. It seems there has to be some truth to it since it has been such a constant over the centuries and the world. What I didn’t realize until about 10 years ago after a sighting in our area, was how widespread reports were all over the US. Considering how much “evidence” there is out there and that most sitings are near large forested areas, its existence is possible. We may never know, but it is interesting to contemplate.

    • Oh, good mention, Patricia! I think it was just recently (past week or two) that I saw on TV someone thought they sighted Big Foot. There was an (albeit) grainy photo, but it does make you wonder, doesn’t it? Doctored photo or real deal?

      You’re right – Big Foot has been around a long time!

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